A bunch of armed commandos believed to be from Iran stormed an oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman — and had been thwarted when the crew disabled the engines, in keeping with a report.
The ship, recognized because the Panamanian-flagged Asphalt Princess, was boarded by about six closely armed males off the coast of the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday in what the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations characterised as a “potential hijack.”
In audio from a maritime radio recording, obtained by the Associated Press, a crew member informs the Emirati coast guard that the tanker has been boarded.
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“Iranian people are onboard with ammunition,” the crew member says.
“We are … now, drifting. We cannot tell you exact our ETA to (get to) Sohar,” the port in Oman listed as the ship’s vacation spot, he says.
The hijackers directed the tanker to Iran.
By Wednesday, the commandos left the ship and the UKMTO up to date its report: “Boarders have left the vessel. Vessel is safe. Incident complete.”
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A supply with information of the intelligence briefings on the incident advised the Times of London that “armed Iranians stormed the vessel and tried to take it back to Iran but the crew scuppered the engines, so that is why it was shown bobbing in the water.”
“Then US and Omani warships turned up and the Iranians got into some boats and went off,” the supply mentioned.
Nobody has taken accountability for the tried hijacking close to the Strait of Hormuz, however the incident has raised tensions in the Persian Gulf area following a drone assault final week on an oil tanker that killed two crew members off the coast of Oman.
State Department spokesman Ned Price mentioned US officers imagine the “personnel were Iranian, but we’re not in a position to confirm at this time.”
Abolfazl Shekarchi, a spokesman for Iran’s armed forces, dismissed the hijacking report as “a kind of psychological warfare and setting the stage for new bouts of adventurism.”
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In the recording, an Asphalt Princess crew member mentioned he “cannot understand the (Iranians)” earlier than the decision ends.
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Six oil tankers off the coast of Fujairah, close to the Strait of Hormuz, the entryway into the Persian Gulf, warned on Tuesday that they had been “not under command,” that means that they had misplaced energy and couldn’t steer.